tv Book Discussion CSPAN September 20, 2014 11:00am-12:03pm EDT
>> good evening. i'm so glad to be here at politics and prose with my wife this evening. thank you so much to the entire staff for coming out on this damp august evening. now is the time to turn off your cell phones or anything else that might be during the presentation. when we get to the q&a in the program, there is a microphone over there and we would appreciate it if you would make your way to it if you would like to ask a question, especially with the cameras going here this
evening. finally, at the end, please help our staff by enfolding of the chairs and placing them in something solid. thank you for joining us. hampton sides has several best-selling works to his name and among them are those soldiers about the daring world war ii games to rescue more than 2000 pows. that has sold more than a million copies since its release in 2002 and another of his book, blood and thunder, the life and times of kit carson made the best book list in 2006 when it came out very and then four years ago he tackled the murder of martin luther king jr. in an international manhunt for james earl ray.
and now with the release of "in the kingdom of ice: the grand and terrible polar voyave of the uss jeannette", as the subtitle of the book says, which started in 1879. the background of hampton sides is a magazine journalism and he has also done some radio and newspapers as well. he is an editor at large for an outside magazine and has written for a number of other periodicals as well. indeed he considers himself a journalist who happens to write books about history. meaning that he goes after a historical subject more as a journalist might, might full of things that resonate with current events and details that will be certain to draw readers in. now, the story that details about the harrowing expedition of the uss jeannette has all the elements of a gripping and epic tale. there is the quest in this case
to explore what was one of the last uncharted regions of the world, the north pole, and there is a young naval officer named george washington de long, who had already been famous off the coast of greenland. there is the rich and flamboyant owner of the new york herald, james gordon bennett, who is the guy that sent stanley to africa to find living stone some years earlier. based on information that hampton was able to piece together from a range of sources, including official documents and private correspondence and memoirs as well. the book sounded opposite of frozen with storytelling magic,
declared the boston globe. a first-rate adventure narrative, says "the new york times" and a splendid book in every way according to "the wall street journal." ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming hampton sides. [applause] >> hello. it is so great to be back in washington dc, one of my hometowns. one of the places i learned to ride and a lot of other places around town learning how to write these stories and also i wanted to have a sense of adventure and ended up in santa fe, new mexico where outside magazine is based and i cut my teeth on adventure narratives. and i'm going to talk about the
environment that produced the voyage of the uss jeannette. as well as the thinking and the theory that went in at the north pole and one of the great puzzles of the 1800s was what is the affect of the world? how can we recheck? why is it so difficult to reach it? and so i'm going to show slides and give you a sense of the environment of the mid-1800s and then also am going to give you a little bit of sense of how i spent my summer vacation during my travels in siberia. and so how many of you, barring those that are r&b reading my book, how many people have heard of the voyage of the uss jeannette? you guys are cheating, i think, some of you, at this is a very informed audience because
yesterday i was in dallas, 200 people in the room and i think that two people raised their hands. it's a very obscure expedition and people have not heard of it even though it is a day it was a sensation. these men were sort of the astronauts of the time and they were the subject of best-selling books and paintings and monuments and everyone knew about the men of the uss jeannette. and so i kind of want to change that up and that is why i am here. to bring this rather forgotten story to the war front. because it is one of the greatest interest stories of all time and one of the most harrowing stories of survival. it is sort of the american story. and when i first heard about it, i couldn't believe it wasn't better known. and is this microphone on? can everyone hear me?
okay. and one place where it is well-known is the naval academy in annapolis. where there is an expedition monument on the banks of the southern river there and george washington de long is one of the great heroes of the navy and people there certainly celebrate it as well as a uss jeannette memorial in woodlawn cemetery in the bronx. one of these gilded age cemeteries that has won the monuments there to the uss jeannette. the idea of uss jeannette seems to be kind of crazy, click why would you want to sail to the north pole and why would that not be considered completely insane and quixotic.
but it had its roots in a lot of mythology and a lot of science and pseudoscience that was swirling around in the 1800. going back to some of the early maps like this one that shows the open polar sea with these rivers going into it. once you get something on a map, especially a beautiful map, it's very hard to dislodge it from the public imagination and so it becomes like trying to prove the existence of god and create elaborate arguments. like we haven't seen him, but we know he is at and here are the series on why it exists. and so griese talked about something called hype aporia and the vikings talked about all
sorts of other things as well, things deep and deeply embedded in the mythology about a jolly and happy place and sometimes with beard sea creatures and marine life and tropical weather that existed just beyond the ice. if you could just somehow reach it. and so it was that kind of weight of ages that contributed to this notion of the open sea. there were also some openly wackier things going on in the 1800s. especially this one gentleman who went around the world in the country selling out crowds with lectures, talking about something he called holes at the polls. and he talked about this and that there were people down or
end it is just a matter of time before we would find them. it sounds like lunatic fringe stuff. but he sold out giant crowds and convinced them in the 1840s, one group common to find these holes at the polls. and this was on today and this is from harper's magazine. one is at the top of the world and what is at the bottom of the world. and you get the general idea. and it still lives on today. and if you'd do a search on holes at the poles, you would have the ability to see that apparently there are a lot of people with energy and a lot of
weird species and the obama administration has done everything they can to prevent us from knowing about it. and it is interesting. so the idea certainly has some kind of shelf life although i don't know why. and this guy certainly popularized the notion with his book journey to the center of the earth. although he did so underground. the subterranean cavities, just to sort of showed awaited this idea was popular in 1800s and how it sort of circulated all different levels of society. okay. so other people are supposed to be up there as well. we know this to be a fact. and i thought this was an ancient idea what st. nick up there, but it turns out that it
was a fairly recent contemporary idea from the 1860s, a thomas nast cartoon from harbors which shows santa and his helpers up there at the north pole. and so what is up there? we desperately wanted to know and it was this nagging and non-obsessions no what is this in the world. and so this is part of what launched him. so there were other pseudoscientists and experts that went farther in terms of theorizing what was up there and how we might reach it. and with foremost was doctor august peterman was the foremost mapmaker in the world and he had a huge operation with beautiful hand colored up-to-date maps, sort of the google maps of his time. and he also like so many in the
characters of my book, he had excellent facial hair. and so the alice of physical geography is one of the many publications. beautiful stuff and very influential of his time and gave him a platform to talk about all of his wacky theories of the art deck, which is one of his obsessions. not the kind of guy that you really want to hang out with and have a beer with, but very intelligent and tragic character that is very important to my book. so i went to germany to try to understand his world in this university created there. this is his house where he was raised in germany and this begins to show some of his theories about what was up there. and he was intrigued by the gulf
stream. it we are learning how powerful it actually was in terms of bringing stuff from the tropics north and going powerfully towards norway and no one exactly new where it went. it was a total under the eyes and eventually made its way to the north pole. explaining the open polar sea that we all believed in. and then there was another current which means the blackcurrant, that was known to exist but swept north toward the bering strait. and they tunneled under the ice cap and these two great currents of the world met at the north pole in this wonderful sort of symmetrical grandiose and elaborate thermal regulations system that the planet
supposedly had an only some romantic have crazy german intellectual would come up with this theory and convince a lot of people that it was true. and so here is another rendering of it. the key word is supposed. until someone who is captivated was this guy and this is james gordon bennett junior, publisher of the new york herald which was the largest paper in the world at that time. he inherited his newspaper from his dad and he was sort of a spoiled brat, half mad playboy and he was a yachtsmen and he won the first transatlantic yacht race and he also was into -- what else was he into?
speed walking. he was a champion speed walker. and he also got into all kinds of sports and spectacles and eventually ostracize where he lived most of his career and ran his paper, the new york herald, from paris via the transatlantic cable. and he eventually created something that then became the international herald tribune which still exist in a limited form. so he was fascinated by the north pole and he wanted to bankroll an expedition there. and he loved the ideas of this. and this is the new york herald offices in new york. one of the many eccentricities that he had was that he was deeply into al's. why vowels, bronze owls, you know, decorating his house.
something about them really tickled his fancy and some people suggested he was the model for bruce wayne and batman because this strangely mysterious salute international playboy bachelor who has this fetish for night creatures. and that is him a little bit later in life in the pages of vanity fair. and you can't invent a better character than james gordon bennett junior. and this is something that he kept in the mediterranean and also to padded rooms below where he kept his dairy cows so he could have fresh cream with his practice every morning. and this is a finger painting of
one of his other yachts and i went to paris, i had to do some research and this is one of his -- this is his villa in the south of france not far from monaco. and still life wasn't too hard for him. my wife took most of these pictures and again we see the owls everywhere in his world and it's just sort of intriguing. and then it was very interested in competitive sports and he was the guy created the singapore called the newport casino where they had the first lot and tennis tournament held in the
u.s. he suffered terribly in the summer of 1881 and there is a tennis match going on a new order. so i cut back at work between these different worlds and he also later in life got involved with automobile racing and balloon racing as well. and there is still to the day called the gordon bennett cup in balloon racing. so the guy has been around and can attest this through the venturing world. probably his most famous, as we have alluded to in the introduction, sending henry morton stanley to find david livingstone. he didn't really get lost. but he understood that this would be a great newspaper series and that if he could send
them off and along the way he would probably discover all kinds of things and getting all kinds of trouble and it would be a great series of dispatches. it was a sensation for the new york herald and he was looking for an encore to this great sensation. and this is where he began work on the idea of an expedition to the north pole that he would pay for completely all by himself that would test the theory. so this is the guy who got the job. this is george washington's along of the u.s. navy. and so i decided that he wanted to be the first guy to be one can reach the north pole. he was captivated and peterman's ideas and a lot of other scientific ideas that were
swirling around at that time. so bennett purchased this from the british and renamed it the jeannette. and george washington de long and his wife sailed the ship from france all the way to san francisco in 1878 and begin to work on the ship and stuffing it with all of the latest inventions, including those that were not quite ready for prime time, but they were brought on board as were alexander graham bell's telephone and telegraph equipment. a state-of-the-art library. they knew that they were going to the great unknown and they would be on a voyage for at least two or three years. they didn't want to suffer. this was the gilded age and people wanted to live well.
so this was incredibly well provisioned and quite and in his life as we later learned, as the ship was leaving, just a few months later he did work. 20,000 people were sending people off on their voyage, everybody knew about this. it was a national endeavor although it was paid for by the eccentric millionaire's and it was flying under navy rule the transports. and it would kind of be like ted turner joining forces with nasa to send a probe to mars or something like that. but that is the gilded age for
you. so as they head north trying to find this warm water current, going past alaska, which we had recently purchased from the russians, everyone talked about what was north of the northwest. and they were headed for a place that figured prominently in people didn't know what it was. they thought it was actually part of the polar continent that went all the way and connected with greenland. and they moved north along the coast of siberia and then they probably in september get stuck in the ice. and they don't find this warm water current that what they find is ice. and they are stuck for two years
in the ice drifting backwards and forwards, left and right, moving towards the north pole and headed in the right direction. unlike leadership has been massively reinforced an almost rebuilt and they just thought it would be a matter of weeks and months and not yours. so here they are almost 22 months, trying to figure out what to do it themselves. and so they didn't exactly set for her. they had plenty of food eaten all of these entertainments and they slowly were going mad from borden and inaction and overfamiliarity and from some of the behaviors from some of the men on board and he was an amazing guy, one of the herald
correspondents there was a meteorologist in one of the scientists on board and he also, being from ireland, he was someone who loved wordplay and had a particular weakness for puns. puns are fun for a day or two. two years? they wanted to lock them up and kill this guy eventually. and all the journals talk about this. and there was another individual that was a navigator and it turned out that he had syphilis. and the way that it manifests itself is through this condition called syphilitic iritis, which required him to go under the knife. something like two dozen operations without honesty any anesthesia and he's locked in his room for two years.
so we have a blind navigator and this is not a good thing. we also have melville who is the engineer on board a ship and an amazingly resourceful qaeda becomes the hero of this story. and there's nothing he cannot do. he ends up writing his best-selling book about his experiences as i wrote this book. and this kind of shows the drift. it's constantly moving forwards and backwards and there's one near where they made almost a complete circle and ended up where they started. and this is generally what it looks like is a move towards the northwest. so okay, i like what i'm doing these narrative histories, i like to go to the places that i'm writing about and i like to
describe the landscape and the weather and so forth. so i got myself a bad haircut and i went to russia. and i thought that i could go west. you know, via san francisco and alaska. but it turned out that i had to get all of these permits because i was going through some restricted areas and some areas that the military zones that had not been opened up before the cold war. and they were asking questions like, we suspend people. you want to go there? and so i got my permit and was working with a translator and then took a series of planes, something like eight or nine time zones to the arctic -- the
pacific coast of the siberia area. to this place which is a bizarre place in and of itself where i found this russian icebreaker and it was called ringle island. there were a lot of dedicated individuals in a french creole headed north through the bering strait, and here i was wondering why i couldn't have gone the easy way and as we head north toward the island. so this is the easternmost point of the eurasian continent and it is a beautiful and haunting place. there's no one there.
working our way up here or they just have killed a whale and they had a festival and invited us into their village and they stayed a few hours. but -- there were soldiers there. he said that you're very welcome to be here, but please leave. and so after two hours we moved north. and we started to encounter a lot of eyes to our surprise. you hear about how there is no ice in the arctic these days and that's certainly true, but for whatever combination of reasons in the summer 2012, there was a record amount of ice in this part where we happened to be. and so we began to be very glad that we were on board because it just got thicker and thicker and
we eventually found ourselves ramming into the ice and coming to a complete standstill several times, which is such an interesting dealing. the shaking and shuddering of the ship. i took all of these pictures with my iphone. so i apologize for the quality. this was taken straight from the bowel of the ship. these kind of jigsaw patterns as we were in the ship. >> something like xp or 7 feet.
and it's hard to get perspective on this angle. and so we eventually did reach this place about 100 miles long. it has been called the galapagos of the portable and it's the world's largest hunting ground for polar bears stare at and so this is part of russia, although that is a complicated question. which i will get into in a second. and so we went these way by these cliffs where there are hundreds of thousands of words and my friends were just extremely excited when this happened. getting divebombed by these birds, you know, it was very interesting.
so came aboard to the shore and there's only four people that live on this island. they are russians who were so glad to see us. so glad to see human beings. and to entertain us. and so we came aboard and the reason that i really came to ringle island, and working with an amazing a russian photographer that ran in the spring of 2013. he has been going for decades to wrangel. the arctic has changed in so many ways and this is where it has been going.
including the polar bear. because it has not been very sick, they have been coming to wrangel and they throng the huge numbers. and so these are pictures that sergei took of a walrus killed and birds are trying to get in on the action as well. and this is a pretty picture that ran in the magazine, a pretty famous one. they are constantly trying to collect these eggs for their pups for the winter and they are constantly fighting with the adult teeth. sometimes they when and just as
often the geese when and it is a battle. and also excellent facial hair. [laughter] [laughter] >> just a few structures on the island. this is the cabin, and i was it -- they had the polar bear here. sergei took this picture of me on ringle island. one of the things that the island is famous for is that it's believed to be the last place on earth where you bully mammoth lips. and this is a mammoth task that is just everywhere.
all about the island. trying to put it into my overnight bag, so that is ringle island. this guys took it around and over but another vessel that was sent to look for de long did make landfall and this is believed to be the first people to ever land there. and so they raised the american flag over the island and this is where it gets a little complicated. they claimed it for the united states and it was supposed to be on american soil. if we had press this a little bit more diligently, it would be part of alaska today. and so one of the guys that was on board looking for this uss jeannette with this guy, this is the great conservationist john
mayor who at that time early in his career was a newspaper reporter. and he wrote beautifully about his adventures in the arctic with this great detective story. in an interesting time in the life of this amazing man. and so john muir becomes one of the most amazing characters in the last third of the book. where was the jeannette? they were looking for that but they were a thousand miles to the northwest i this point still making their way slowly but surely towards the north pole in the eyes was throttling the ship and squeezing the life out of it. and, you know, it is clear that this ship was not going to be able to survive. so he began this organized
effort to move the belongings out onto the ice and to get ready for the inevitable retreat that they were going to have to make as the ship began to sink. in one of the reasons we are looking at engravings and paintings is that all of the expedition photos that were taken during the voyage went down with the ship and it's probably one of the reasons we haven't heard of it. is that there aren't these amazing images that might get us some sort of signature. and that's not really what it was like. but it is kind of a heroic painting from a french painter. and we know exactly where it went down. this is an image that was sent to me from a guy at noaa. it is in russian waters, not to be. sort of a fantasy of mine to
find another james gordon bennett and go find the ship and photographed it and that is another story. and so the jeannette men were left out on the ice. and they were heading south to the nearest landmass which was the central coast of siberia. 1000 miles away over the ice, knowing that winter was coming on and they had just a little bit of time to save themselves and begin a very different chapter of the story which is a great survival story stories, one of the best of all time. and they made their way south 91 days, hauling their wild
whaleboat and they held it together until they finally reached open waters. and meanwhile back at home, emma delong is wondering where her husband is and i had this picture of her mainly because i have this amazing experience and the research for the book which was early on i was doing some cold calling of people there. and i ended up calling this woman, catherine delong, a distant relative of georgian emma delong. and she said, i'm so glad you called me because i have a trunk of letters that i really don't know what to do it and i'm thinking about throwing it away and will you please come.
and please help. and what i ever. i flew to connecticut immediately and then they were the personal papers of emma de long. lots of family photographs and all kinds of stuff and all of her letters from people in the navy. but central to the whole thing is what she did in the summer of 1881, when she began to write the letters to nowhere and letters to her husband and they were sent north via the bering strait or norway and hopes that they would somehow reach her husband. and so they are absolutely beautiful letters. they are heart-wrenching, they
are showing that people wrote better back then. but there is also a quality as the story goes from bad to worse, the men are struggling at this point for their own survival. and she is writing these lovely and sometimes seductive letters to her husband that she doesn't know if it will ever reach him. and so this shows the general idea from the point of their sinking. as you notice, the line goes north for a while when they are trying to go south. and they are struggling over the ice as hard as they can and they find out that the ice is actually drifting north faster than they are able to move south. so they are going backwards for this track over this slush and rubble and pressure ridges and they are making their way generally to southwest and along
the way they land and explore and no one has ever been on this before, named annette island after the publisher. and this is a picture of him from the air. also it was reclaimed for the u.s. and now it is part of russia. as you see now to the northeast, they are working their way through these other islands and making their way toward the open water and it takes 90 something days. they put these votes in the water and a i have to almost rebuild the vote because they have been nearly destroyed from this track over the ice. and everything is going well until the next day when they encounter a gigantic dale that
separates the three votes from each other. and so the story becomes really the story of these three votes as they make their way towards siberia. not knowing if the other party is alive or dead. this shows them making their way towards this amazing place that is the delta one of the world's largest rivers and it is an extraordinary place into the arctic ocean and so it creates the barrier to its own current every fall. and so it finds its way to the sea, exaggerating the normal pattern that you would get. so you have hundreds and hundreds of islands and act
channels and so this is the one that is reached. and they find each other in this labyrinth. needless to say, it makes for a very difficult two months as they traipse and wonder through this landscape. so i wanted to go here as well. it's a very remote place a place that not very many americans have ever been to. and so i decided to look into all the different ways to go. and all roads lead to this place on the arctic ocean. he used to be a military baric in a place where long-range intercontinental bombers were taking off and it was erected for, for the destruction of the united states, pretty much. but now it is largely abandoned. no infrastructure, 400 miles above the arctic circle and it
is kind of a wasteland. interesting to meet people like this just kind of watching around and walking around. but we are looking for a way to get there and to get specifically to a place that i have heard about that is known as america mountain. where there is some kind of monument and i wanted to go there and pay my respects. so this is a picture of main street and all the buildings are empty. and they were able to get me aboard a working vessel goes up and down the channels removing various snarls and trying to keep the main channels open for the riverboat traffic or it and
so a lot of vodka and cigarettes, they really wanted back, that, i could come on board and we could work our way over. so here is a picture of the ship and i did get a story in outside magazine in their july issue. this is the last village, i guess you could call it before we jumped into the middle of nowhere. and it is one of the world's restricted reserves. and there's nothing really living or, growing their. it's permafrost and there's winter and then there is mosquito. and so we were there during august and that was one of the
factors. mosquitoes the size of hummingbird. but we did finally reached this place or at least we thought that we did. but when we got close the ship ran aground and then finally we had to wade and swim at one point to get to the base of this place. and it was built here, this monument, because of all the flooding that had happened in the delta and there were very few high places in this part of the world and so this is where they had the monument. and then we worked our way up there and this is a picture taken at about 3:00 a.m. and the sun doesn't set this time of year. he is smoking some of the cigarettes that i gave him and this is one of my guys, a russian soldier and there he has, sure enough, across left
the way it was the 1880s. i don't know how many americans have been or since the 1880s. but the base of that little box and inside the box there were messages that had been written in russian and japanese and german. and there are people that study permafrost and the tundra and arctic weather. so we paid our respects and had a picnic and made our way back. and so it's just kind of amazing to me that there is this incredibly desperate part of the world to reach. and there is this place a bid
villagers knew about and the people in russia, to my surprise, they knew about the voyage. so many more than here in this country. and so james gordon bennett did get his story. it took a while but he sent his journals are to get the story and it ended up being a bigger story than the pages of stanley livingston. the man came home and they came home as heroes. and some lived and some died and those who lived through or welcomed as heroes were praised and it became a best-selling book. his look that he loved across
the tundra and then buried in the sand were later found by rescuers and dug up where they took a train to moscow and then finally st. petersburg and they ended up here in the archives in washington and they are now being digitized and analyze by a group called old leather, which studies what old weather patterns look like from various great expeditions. in order to compare that in those days to the way it is today. and so these are some images of the books that were loved all this way. when i was looking at the stuff, i was just thinking, gosh, the journey. they didn't have to come all this way. they could have stopped at any
point. but de long knew that this was the only proof that the expedition happened. they were so important to him, so he brought them every step of the way and they made it to the national archives. and so some of the other men of the jeannette went on to be well-known. this is a picture of melville who became the chief engineer of the united states navy and is considered one of the great exploration heroes of the u.s. navy. and there were her possessions in new york, everyone turned out for these men and such a hugely well-known story of its time which we just tried to resurrect and breathe new life into it hopefully for a new audience and generation. so that is how i wrote it.
and so we have about 10 minutes or so when i would love to hear the different questions from you about this kind of narrative history and what i do specifically about the jeannette. any questions. [applause] >> because we are being filmed here by c-span. come up to a microphone and make sure that you get close to the microphone. how are you, sir? >> i was just thinking of the early slide that you showed going through the gulf stream, basically. i believe the gulf stream goes back at a much greater depth before it goes south again.
i'm pretty sure that peter didn't know that. does that sound right? >> that's right, he didn't know. it was generally known that he went right after that. they go down and they circulate back. it wasn't entirely wrong, but it was wrong and he was extremely forceful in his argumentation and quite seductive and enticing. part of it was the beautiful maps that he had that could show these things and it was so difficult for people to believe that it wasn't true. so unfortunately men have to die or suffer horribly order to prove or disprove these elaborate theories. so that is kind of the way it works in this. hello. i know this gentleman. >> hello, i am at the national archives and i have the honor to work on a collaboration with the
national oceanic atmospheric association. if you want to know more information, all of the images that we have are available on a website and you can go to the bw to be.archives of and you can click on researcher records and then click on online public catalogs. and so it's a wonderful resource and if i'm not mistaken,
that is that data that we were able to transcribe and i invite you to take a look at it if you would like. and it's not just the uss jeannette, we also have all those other ones and scores of others as well. >> i couldn't have done this without you in terms of the records, knowing the records, he is the guy that knows this stuff backwards and forwards. and it's been such a great collaboration on many levels. so did you have a question? >> related probably to the first question. at the time, if i am not mistaken, we had a great
industry of wailing going on and they were getting caught in the eyes of their and even despite their experience, these other theories build such a stronghold. were they never asked about their seriousness or her garden in this way? >> in san francisco he met with a group of these wailers and they said basically don't do it. they said you're going straight to hell. and they had experienced it firsthand and they didn't know about the currents exactly. they were agnostic on that point and the ice is alive and moving with the ships and it's going to get you eventually no matter how much you reinforce.
but thank you for your question. i thought you were going to say something about this in disarray. i didn't check them out correctly or something. next question? >> in leaving the civil war there was an american icebreaker that went north and spent an entire year and i'm not sure which side of greenland but way the heck up. >> it might've been player is. >> yes, and that is where he really got into the arctic. and so that is kind of the theme. they were looking at us. >> he came out okay and had a tramp to return to new york harbor.
>> there have been three or four. >> this is a lot of data and these people realize there's not a lot of warm seas of their. >> this is why they stopped going to greenland. they say it has to be someone else, so let's try the bering strait. and so they kept coming. of course the great irony is that they are looking for this that didn't exist but the climate folks are telling us that it will be in open sea at least during the summertime. and so maybe they were not quixotic or crazy but a victim of bad timing. >> on any of these trips, i think on one at least, the people played a role because they help to keep people alive with the switch in 1898 and that is a documentary that this is a
sort of fictional movie based on fact that stars free famous hollywood stars. but anyway, it didn't make it eight/but it is a terrific movie and i wonder if people on either side in siberia or greenland in this story could be a part of that. >> there were 200 hunters that were taken aboard the ship in alaska that were hired to be hunters. ..
we know exactly what happened to them but you have to read the book. you want to -- you can read the book or read the new york times review in sunday's paper that was a plot summary. everything -- i am very careful about this because i found that and readers will be the last hundred pages are a lot more powerful and moving and haunting and meaningful if you don't know because this story is just obscure enough that the way it plays out as a certain power if you just don't know so don't google. you can google it. this is nonfiction and this is history, if you really have to know you can do that but i would
encourage you not to. i would encourage you to go with the flow. last hundred pages go by pretty quickly but i think they are more powerful if you don't know. thanks for your question. >> are you aware of the smithsonian holds some genet artifacts? >> yes, have you seen them? they are sprinkled around at the naval academy, the smithsonian, obviously the national archives have some stuff and there is some stuff in san francisco as well but thank you so much. thank you so much for coming tonight and we have some books down here, right? so please form a line to the right. >> full of your chairs and cleans them against something, thank you. >> interested in american history? watch american history television and c-span3 every